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Technology That Understands Us
[ Issue 159 Page 3 ] Wednesday, December 27, 2017, 22:10:39 Hyunseung Hwang Staff Reporter aguno@kaist.ac.kr
Founder of Naver Labs Chang-Hyeon Song

In a world where new technologies are introduced on a daily basis, many have to spend a large portion of their time learning how to use new tools instead of focusing on what is important to them. On November 13, Chang-Hyeon Song, the founder of Naver Labs, visited KAIST to give a seminar titled “Ambient Intelligence R&D at Naver Labs” at the Information and Electronics Building (E3).

Song introduced Naver Labs’ accomplishments in creating products based on ambient intelligence — technology that understands its context and environment so that users will be given answers and recommendations at the right time without the need to learn how to use them.

Founded in 2013, Naver Labs was originally a small R&D team of its mother company Naver. Its original intentions were to develop services within Naver through artificial intelligence such as Naver’s translation app, Papago. Eventually, the research team decided to shift its focus to ambient technology. As the first IT company that the government approved to test self-driving cars on real roads, Naver Labs created a self-driving car that successfully drove around the busy streets of Pangyo.

In addition to the autonomous driving technology, Naver Labs introduced a new “infotainment” system, AWAY, to provide not only information, but also entertainment. Distractions to drivers cost people’s lives; AWAY tries to reduce distractions through voice recognition technology. AWAY also learns the user’s preferences through Naver’s database. By connecting it to different applications such as Naver Maps, Calendar, Naver Music, and Naver Pay, the platform provides and suggests information based on the user’s history.

Song concluded the seminar with a glimpse into the future of Naver Labs. Song clarified that the company is planning to expand and create products based on ambient intelligence in different fields. In August 2017, Naver Labs acquired Xerox Research Centre Europe, the leading European company in the fields of computer vision, natural language processing, and artificial intelligence. Song said, “We are constantly expanding the field of our research. By acquiring Xerox Corporation, we hope that we can not only work alongside bright minds in Europe, but also expand our services across the globe.”

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